Tuesday, June 27, 2006


GeeDubya is back at it again. This time, it seems the press is "disgraceful" for doing its job.

United States President George W. Bush criticized newspapers yesterday for disclosing a secret American government program monitoring international banking transactions, calling the disclosures a "disgraceful" act that could assist terrorists.

"The disclosure of this program is disgraceful," he said. "We're at war with a bunch of people who want to hurt the United States of America, and for people to leak that program, and for a newspaper to publish it does great harm to the United States of America.

"Congress was aware of it, and we were within the law to do so," he added.

I agree with the editor of the Times (I assume of New York):

"Most Americans seem to support extraordinary measures in defence against this extraordinary threat but some officials who have been involved in these programs have spoken to the Times about their discomfort over the legality of the government's actions and over the adequacy of oversight."

That's the thing. If there's a question of legality, we have a right to know about the program. It's not like the Times revealed the location of troops, or plans for attacking al-Quieda holdouts (probably because this administration has a bad habit of not planning anything and no such plans exist). Yes, the United States is at war. But this is not a war with defined boundaries and defined battlefields. Balancing the need for information about our enemies with the rights of the people who are our allies needs to be handled carefully, and the Bush administration is doing a Broadway dance routine in the China shop.

Get your free speech on, newspapers.

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